Thursday, December 22, 2011

Needs and Prayer Requests

A lot of people have been asking if we have any needs and specific prayer requests. Peter, my brother-in-law, even asked what scriptures we would like prayed for us. So in this post I am going to compile a short list of material possessions we will need, followed be specific prayer requests.

Firstly, a vehicle! I'll just start with the biggie. After some research, the D.R. will only allow 2006 or above models to be shipped into their country. We are hunting for a good deal on a 2006 or above SUV or pickup (something a little higher off the ground because of the poor roads and occasional off-road needs). The other option is buying a vehicle there, but prices are actually 2-3x more expensive. It is cheaper to buy a vehicle here and ship it (shipping and extraction is roughly $2K..and that is because we know some people who know some people) than to purchase one there.

We are praying for one to fall into our laps (well that might hurt...), or to find a great deal. Jehovah Jireh is God- Provider.

Secondly, a goal of $2,000 a month. This figure was reached after talking with several Dominicans (some who live there currently and some who now live in the States), after individually pricing items ourselves when there; and after searching online forums concerning the issue. The general consensus seems to be that in certain areas of the D.R., $20k a year is reasonable (this does not include moving expenses, furnishing an apartment, health insurance and ministry needs). We only have a fraction of that guaranteed right now, but a lot of verbals. We are confident the Lord will again provide for us concerning this need. After the new year, I am scheduled to speak at a few churches as well.

We are praying God will place a giving spirit on the hearts of His people, and we thank Him for the ones already partnering with us for the sake of the gospel of Christ.

Prayer Requests:
1) For the above two needs and an apartment to open up in a complex that we have our eyes on. It is secure, clean, affordable and in a convenient location; but right now there are no vacancies.
2) For God to direct and facilitate our learning of Spanish.
3) For spiritual maturity and Christ-likeness- specifically for a continued and heightened hunger for His Word and communion with Him in prayer.
4) For God to begin a great work and revival in the D.R. even before we get there so all glory belongs to Him. We would be honored to join His work.

Scriptures to pray for us: Any and all of the Pauline prayers (Eph. 1:17-19; 3:14-21; Phil. 1:9-11; Col. 1:9-12; 1 Thes. 3:11-13; 2 Thes. 1:11-12; 2:16-17; 3:5; Philemon 4-6; Heb. 13:20-21) *note: Hebrews may not be written by Paul :) Lastly, the verses that promise God's continued work through the believer. Eph. 2:10; Phil. 1:6; 2:12-13.

It has been very humbling to write this post because it shows our weakness, our needs, and how dependent we are on God and His people to do His work and be obedient. However, in our weakness He is strong! 2 Cor. 12:10.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Big Thanks!!!

I would like to have one post solely for the purpose of thanking those partnering with us for the sake of the gospel of Christ!

First, I would like to thank Pete Menendez, Tim Turner, and Pastor Paul for all the help they have been and will be in helping us be obedient to the Lord in fulfilling His calling on our lives. I also want to thank Pastor Matos and Pastor Hernandez for their Spanish lessons they have been offering.

Secondly, I would like to thank Woodside Baptist, FBC Sparr, Trenton First Baptist, First Baptist Salt Springs, and Fellowship Baptist (the last two mentioned just added 2/29/12) for allowing us to share our testimony at their churches and either supporting us or possibly supporting us financially. There are also individuals who are giving us to as well and Celia and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Though it will not be possible to minister to the Dominicans without the financial support, our efforts will be in vain without the support of your prayers. To those who have lifted our mission up to the Lord in prayer, we are grateful and plead that you continue to remember us, Pastor Jose and the Dominicans. Thank you!!!

I will have another post shortly listing specific prayer requests and other needs that have arisen.

What we've been doing of late

For the past couple of months we've been attending Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Marion Oaks (First Baptist of Marion Oaks), a Spanish speaking church if you couldn't tell. Two of the pastors, Pastor Matos and Pastor Al Hernandez are giving us Spanish lessons as well during the week. Please be in prayer for our learning of the language as we still have a long way to go. Celia and I still struggle to comprehend the Sunday school lesson and the message (we really don't as of yet), but we think headway is being made. 

On October 30th, the Marion Baptist Association adopted Celia and I as their missionaries at the annual meeting held at FBC Ocala. The pastors present prayed over us and unofficially commissioned us as missionaries. I believe that was a first for the association. Many people have asked us why we are raising financial support independently instead of going through the International Mission Board (IMB). This past January, we met with an IMB official and discussed our calling and options. While we did meet the IMB's requirements, we declined from seeking their support primarily because of one reason. That reason being because the objective of the IMB at this time is to reach "unreached" people groups and the Dominican Republic is not considered "unreached." Thus, they would send us to one of those unreached places (probably somewhere in Asia). Instead of turning them down immediately, we fervently prayed for God's guidance and wisdom in the matter. Through much prayer, Celia and I both came to believe we would be disobedient if we did not attempt to go to the Dominican Republic. 

Currently, we are speaking at churches local (and afar...we spoke at Trenton First Baptist in Trenton, GA this past Sunday) sharing our testimony and seeing how the Lord uses it. It is a beautiful thing to be in a place where you cannot see the end but you have faith that God will provide because you are confident you are in  His will. Celia and I praise God for that, because we both know what it is like to be confused and searching as well. Though, I must confess, there is a beauty that comes in being in that place as well, and I wonder if in this life any of us will ever totally leave that state.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Why "Scarred Hands"?

I once heard Paul Washer, a former missionary and current itinerant speaker, speak at a missions conference where young some obedient Christians were being commissioned into foreign missions. I'll never forget what he said:
"Mission has two categories; those who go down into the well and those who hold the rope (goers and senders)....You are either called to go down into the well, or hold the rope for those who go down.  Either way, there will be scars on your hands.  Where are your scars?  What has it cost you to fulfill The Great Commission?"
I heard this before I felt the calling of God to be a missionary to a foreign land. Besides convicting me of my lack of giving to support the work of missions around the world, it opened my eyes to the fact that not only are the "goers" fulfilling the great commission, but so too are the "senders." Recently, I was looking at some blogs of current missionaries. One comment by Clay Kannard stuck out to me. He said:
"Every Christian is not called to be a missionary. However, every Christian is called to the mission, the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Those that are called to be missionaries depend on the mission being accomplished back home. It is the Christians at home that help support missionaries with their prayer, finances and encouragement. Christians that are not crossing borders still impact the world as they pursue Christ, seek the lost, and support missionaries that are called across those borders. We are called to do the mission well, and as we do, we can trust that we will win, because Jesus already has and He is our King."
The church is a body. The body is called to "Go." In this instance, Celia and I are the feet. Our supporters, you, are the hands. Together, we move in unison to bring glory to our Christ. One body, one faith, one mission and goal, one cost, scarred hands.